Student attitude and action regarding the single-use plastic shopping bag on The University of Alabama campus

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University of Alabama Libraries

This research explores discrepancies between attitudes and behaviors of students on the University of Alabama campus regarding the single-use plastic shopping bag. A survey was developed and administered to 162 students on campus to assess attitudes and behaviors related to plastic bags, reusable shopping bags, and related human-environmental issues. Research focused on worldwide approaches to problems associated with the single-use plastic bag, consumer and environmental perceptions related to the topic, attitude and behaviors toward plastic bags and recycling, the climate of sustainability at the University of Alabama, and human-environmental impacts of the plastic bag. The research background in conjunction with the data collected indicated these findings. First, students' dominant attitude toward single-use plastic bags is not consistent with dominant behavior or how they use plastic bags, and present stimuli in many retail environments are strong enough that students generally use plastic bags despite conflicting attitudes. Second, though surveyed students are aware of problems associated with the plastic bag, these items are a valued part of some students' shopping experiences. Finally, a store discount for using reusable bags when checking out may be the best stimulus to derive consistency between student attitude and student behavior regarding single-use plastic shopping bags at the University of Alabama. The proposed plan developed specifically for The University according to data findings, included methods for increasing both recycling rates for plastic bags and use of the reusable shopping bags on and around the campus.

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Environmental studies, Sociology, Geography